2022, Volume 19, Issue 2

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Denis V. Kuzmin
Institute of Language, Literature and History, Karelian Research Centre of the RAS
Petrozavodsk, Russia

Historical and Cultural Value of Place Names of the Karelian Village Kolvitsa on the Kola Peninsula

Voprosy onomastiki, 2022, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp. 127–163 (in Russian)
DOI: 10.15826/vopr_onom.2022.19.2.020

Received on 31 December 2021

Abstract: The article deals with the toponymy of the Karelian village of Kolvitsa on the Kola Peninsula which territorially belonged to Karelia until May 1938 and then became a part of the Murmansk region. The study is based on historical documents and present-day data obtained in the course of the author’s fieldwork in Kolvitsa in the summer of 2017 and 2018. It focuses on drawing correlations between the known historical facts about Kolvitsa with toponymic data which validates and expands the amount of historical evidence, making it possible to reconstruct many features of the life of the village in the past. The analysis begins with a number of Russian toponyms that existed even before Kolvitsa was reclaimed by Karelians (Kandalaksha, Kolvitskaya Bay, Poryaguba, etc.). Most of these names are of Sami origin and, as shown by the author, have undergone several stages of adaptation including the transition from Sami to Russian, then from Russian to Karelian and then in many cases from Karelian back to Russian, due to the Russifi cation of the village population in the middle of the 20th century. Further, the Karelian layer of toponymy is considered in detail, which been preserved quite well. The author pays particular attention to a large group of names with stems indicating a person: derived from personal names (Annin/oja ‘Anna’s Stream,’ Kusmal’an/ talo ‘Kuzma’s House’, etc.), ethnic names (Lapin/niemi ‘Lopar Cape’, Ryssän/niemi ‘Russian Cape’), and some appellatives. Another focus of the study is constituted by the geographical terms in the toponymy of the village. Their analysis, aimed at historical reconstruction, allows us to assert that the Karelian population of Kolvitsa was made of immigrants from the Olangsky volost and from the former residents of Voknavolok, Kestenga, Tikhtozero, Ukhta.

Keywords: Kola Peninsula, the village of Kolvitsa, personal names, place names, geographical terminology, Karelian language, Russian language.


The publication was prepared as part of the State assignment of the Karelian Research Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Institute of Language, Literature and History).


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